The number 11 features high in Bhasa’s life from the fifties onwards …
In numerology, the number eleven is a master number and not only occurring in such force in January of this year but throughout my entire life!
Elevens began for me when I met my ‘wasband’ Bob Markman (Anand Avinash) on January 11th 1958. We became engaged on June 11th 1959 and married on September 11th 1960. We conceived our daughter on January 11th 1968 and Nina (Binu) was born on October 11th 1968. Of course Osho was born on December 11th, 1931.
I took sannyas on June 11th 1977 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. For the past 20 years, I have been working as an administrator for a wonderful gentleman, Fritz Smith, MD, whose birthday is May 11th, 1929. Fritz created a bodywork modality called ‘Zero Balancing’.
Avinash (my wasband) had a fatal aneurism on March 11th 2009, on his mother’s birthday. He was a psychotherapist in North Carolina and his beautiful partner, Anna, lives in Montclair, New Jersey.
Many, many, many elevens in-between all of these … and now 2011.
Bob and I were Zen students from 1960-1977. Then I heard Osho’s voice. We were living on a farm in the mountains of North Carolina, and called it the Dharma Farm. Many people visited us there and at the time we were doing Zen meditations. One day, my friend called and invited me to come to Chapel Hill; she said something incredible is happening. I could feel the excitement in her voice and arranged to take a bus (5 hour trip) with our daughter.
When we got there, I was taken to an ice cream parlor in the center of town. The owners had just come back from Pune, India. In the back of the shop, some people had gathered to do a ‘shaking’ meditation. I joined in and could not believe how good it felt. After being a Zen student and gazing in a downward direction for so long, to be able to shake and then to dance and then to sit quietly, and then lay down – this was the best possible concept for meditating that I had ever heard of. After the meditation a voice came on the tape player that was beyond belief. It was a voice of love and passion and spirit and understanding. It was the voice of beloved Osho.
Like many others, I purchased some tapes to take home with me and listened to him every day. Within several months I took sannyas, and our first live lecture was December 11th, 1977 when he said, “My Beloved Ones: I love you. Love is my message – let it be your message too.” We visited Pune three times, and were at some point sent to manage Chidvilas Meditation Center in Montclair New Jersey. At first, we were just five of us operating a small center, holding meditations. Little by little people began to arrive from Pune, and it became clear that we were preparing for Osho to arrive in America. With Sheela’s direction a small castle was purchased in the hills of Montclair, and when it was freshly painted and repaired, Osho arrived.
The next big purchase was the land in Oregon to form a new commune. In 1980 Nina Binu, our daughter, and I went to Rajneeshpuram in Oregon and stayed there until near the end, December, 1985. There, I worked mostly in Chiyono Beauty Salon as the manager, working with precious people such as Rajan, Purohit, Parambodhi, Divyo, Upasika, Saten. Chiyono was a very exciting place to work. For one thing it was an easy place to meet people. Folks coming to festivals would naturally come by to get their hair done, and many residents would also manage to visit, hang out, and get pampered.
We always had wonderful music playing, it was a lively atmosphere and in a great location near the restaurant. We felt like we were on holiday, greeting tourists and friends all the time. And of course the gals from Jesus Grove would often pop in to get shampoos and haircuts and it was a flurry of joy taking care of the folks who were taking care of Osho.
When it became obvious that the commune was closing, I went to Boulder, Colorado to be on the team of folks who did The Rajneesh Newspaper while Osho traveled the world. In Boulder, I became working partners and life partners with Hina, Ma Kranti Hina. Hina was not a fulltime resident at Rajneeshpuram; she was living there for the last few months and was a great organizer. She left Rajneeshpuram with all the equipment needed to start a newspaper, and since the publications department was going to Boulder, she decided that the newspaper should go to Boulder as well. Basically, it was four of us who started The Rajneesh Newspaper, Hina, Bodhi, Maitreyi and myself.
The day that Hina arrived in Boulder, I was sitting quietly as if waiting for something wonderful to happen, and it did. Hina said to me, let’s get started working together! She had a rolodex from Rajneeshpuram, and I knew many of the people, so together we began calling folks and raised several thousand dollars to launch the newspaper. Toward that evening, Hina saw that I had been sleeping on the concrete floor in the basement of the house we were in; we called it a refugee house, where so many of us landed as we left Rajneeshpuram. Hina innocently said to me that she had brought a double-sized mattress and I was welcome to share it with her to be more comfortable. Well, my reply to her was “ok, but I have to warn you, I like to cuddle.” At that time, I knew that Hina had been with women in the commune, but she did not know that I had been with women, she knew nothing about me. Well, needless to say, this was the first night of our next twenty-five years … today is our twenty-fifth year of being together, and we are beginning another twenty-five years … hopefully.
Hina and I live in Santa Cruz, California and we have a varied community of friends and co-hearts. Recently, we have been lucky enough to purchase a mobile home in a senior park surrounded by redwood trees with easy access to organic foods and basic needs. I should say that the address of our home is 11 Oak Shadows Lane, and it is 1100 square feet. I work on the computer at home and manage a bodywork organization called ‘Zero Balancing’ which was begun by Dr. Fritz Smith. I register people for classes and connect with folks worldwide. Hina is a facilitator and organizational development professional, creating public engagement events to dialog and discuss sustainable issues such as water, economics, localizing, etc. We had a huge gathering on 1.1.11, to begin the New Year, sharing ideas, hopes and plans with the community. I am a poet of life and a Facebook friend. I am very close to our daughter, Nina who is a sculptor and an artist and I am also gathering the haiku poetry that Avinash wrote during his last 20 years. I am planning to publish some poetry in the near future. (See a taster here…)
Although I study with other teachers and spiritual teachings such as Tara Brach, Eckhart Tolle, Tibetan Buddhism, and mindfulness, I always keep Osho in my daily life, with meditations, friends, videos, YouTube, photographs, books and reminders, and of course, the Viha Connection and Osho News Online Magazine.
Text by Bhasa for Osho News